January 19, 2024

How to shop more safely online this Christmas

The internet is the place to be when it comes to Christmas shopping for many Australians. It’s convenient, easy and there are some great deals – but online shopping does come with a risk. Don’t let cybercriminals steal your money or personal information this festive season and shop safely with these five tips.

From gifts for loved ones to snagging those enticing holiday deals, online shopping offers convenience and variety. However, with cyber threats lurking, it's important to be careful. Unfortunately, cybercriminals often target online shoppers to steal their money or personal details. Don’t fall prey to their convincing tactics. The Australian Government’s Cyber Security Centre has these tips to help you shop more safely online during the holidays:

One: Shop using secure devices

Make sure the devices you use for online shopping have the latest updates installed and are connected to a trusted network. For example, use your home Wi-Fi or (4G/5G) cellular rather than public Wi-Fi.

Two: Protect your payment information and accounts

Be careful saving payment information on an online shopping account. If you do save payment information to an account, you should turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect it. Where this is not possible, set a long, complex and unique passphrase as the account’s password to help prevent cybercriminals from guessing it. Another idea is to use a password manager to create and store passwords for you.

Three: Use trusted sellers

Research online shopping websites before you buy to make sure they’re legitimate and stick to well-known, trusted businesses.

Four: Use secure payment methods

You should pay by PayPal or with your credit card. You may want to set up a second card with a low credit limit and keep it specifically for online shopping. This will help minimise financial losses if your card details are compromised after shopping online. Never pay by direct bank deposits, money transfers or digital currencies such as Bitcoin, because it is rare to recover money sent this way.

Five: Know the warning signs

There are a few red flags to be on the lookout for. Extremely low prices, payments through direct bank deposits, and online stores that are very new or have limited information about delivery, return and privacy policies can all be signs of a scam. If in doubt, don’t make the purchase.

Following these tips can help reduce your risk of falling prey to online cyber threats. You can find more tips and information about secure online shopping at cyber.gov.au.

Please note, the above information does not constitute financial advice and does not take into account your current circumstances or goals. Please speak with a financial adviser before acting on any information found here or throughout the 5 Financial website.

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